US president Donald Trump’s ongoing attacks on Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar culminated in a chilling moment last night at his “Make America Great Again” re-election rally in North Carolina.
When Trump falsely claimed Omar had a history of “launching vicious anti-Semitic attacks,” thousands in the crowd responded by chanting “Send her back! Send her back!”
Pres. Trump continued his now days-long attack on four Democratic congresswomen at his rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night, eliciting chants of “send her back” from the crowd. https://t.co/V9Nf9ve5tf pic.twitter.com/OSf6hkEu4E
— ABC News (@ABC) July 18, 2019
The chant was reminiscent of the “Lock her up” refrain rally-goers used to shout about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. It is, however, far more disturbing.
“We are facing an emergency,” Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley tweeted after the rally. Stanley is the author of “How Fascism Works.” “This is the face of evil.”
The rally chants came just days after Trump tweeted a series of racist attacks on Omar and her Congressional colleagues Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, all women of color. In one tweet, Trump suggested the four women go back to where they came from. All but Omar were born in the US. Omar immigrated to the US as a child and became a US citizen at 17.
Politicians in the UK and Europe condemned Trump’s attacks. Even some far-right American pundits thought the president went too far this time.
Trump’s “blatant, unashamed racism has appalled people around the world,” British politicians, including Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and two dozen members of Parliament, wrote in a letter to Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley.
“Love and solidarity will always trump hate,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote on Facebook. “These progressive congresswomen…represent hope for the future. Their home is America, but their message crosses borders.”
For democracy to succeed, it is essential that elected representatives can do their work “freely and safely,” the Dutch European Union representative Sophie in ‘t Veld told the European Parliament in response to Trump’s racist attacks.
“This is chilling,” tweeted Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney. “Targeting individuals, fueling hatred based on race is not acceptable in political discourse,” he said. “History tells us where this leads.”
Ben Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire, a right wing website, said Omar is “an American citizen and chanting for her deportation based on her exercise of the First Amendment is disgusting.” Piers Morgan, the British far-right commentator who has been a frequent Trump apologist, called the rally “racist-fueled demagoguery” that “bordered on fascism.”
Author Teuta Skenderi, who was born in Kosovo, said the moment reminded her of a 1989 speech by former Serbian president and convicted war criminal Slobodan Milošević, when a crowd chanted for his political opponent to be jailed. (Ultimately, he was.)
Demonstrating just how alarming the discourse has become, top searches after the rally on dictionary site Merriam-Webster were “racism, socialism, fascism, concentration camp, xenophobia, and bigot.”
For Omar, she responded with a quote from Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I rise:”
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
-Maya Angelou https://t.co/46jcXSXF0B
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 18, 2019
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